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20 Silvachrome tips and tricks

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  • 20 Silvachrome tips and tricks

    I just wanted to share some ideas that have made silvachrome work better for me.

    1. Always blow the air out of all chemicals. Simply put exhail into the jar or can right before closing the lid. This is an old painters trick to prevent the O2 from destroying the chemicals.

    2. After closing the lid on base and top coats, drip some thinner around the rim of the can to prevent crusting.

    3. When applying base or top coat. before it dries use your paint sprayer to shoot a mist of thinner on the surface. This will loosen up trapped dust particals and blend the base coat together to get rid of pin hole depressions. To much thinner will orange peel so do it slow. Thinner evaporates quickly when misted, so if the imperfections dont vanish on the first pass, blow dry the surface with compressed air to accelerate the evaporation the mist it again.

    4. If tinting the top coat, never tint first. Put a thin layer of clear and allow to dry. The tint will cause a reaction if it touches the silver.

    5. Invest in the good Paache gun, trust me

    6. Deionized water from a 4 stage filter reduces fog in the silver. Bottled distilled water will also work.

    7. 70 deg temp reduces fog as well

    8. Flood the part with silver from the bottom up, dont move on untill you see the silver deposit. If you miss a spot and come back you will burn the finish.

    9. Your air source must have a dryer. The moisture the compresor creates will destroy the finish with out a filter or dryer.

    10. Use more thinner than stated on the instructions for both base and top. The mix should be 4-2-1 on base and 4-1 on top. This will allow a smoother finish.

    11. A high quality gun for top coat is the most important gun. If your top is not glass smooth and clear your silver will look dull.

    12. Let the part sit in a dry warm environment for 24 hours before heavy handeling. If you can bake the finish do so.

    13. If you mess up, high power air will blow the silver and base coat off after you score a entry way for the air to enter with a razor. 120psi air will almost take the silver off in one shot. This only applies if no top coat is applied or if a light top coat is applied.

    14. If you want a brushed aluminum look, use straight light wipe passes with steel wool on the base coat right before silvering. Blow off particals of wool before silvering.

    15. To get rid of a hardened base or top coat drip, a q-tip and tinner work well with light passes.

    16. A un top coated part can be electroplated.

    17. If you buy the paache dual gun, The plastic bottles that caswell suppled and some NPT fittings will attach the gun to the bottles and perform great as a siphon fed container.

    18. Use pet medication syringes for measuring. They are $0.89 ea and I have one for each liquid. This prevents accidentally mixing chemicals through sharing needles.

    19. An old sit-n-spin with the hand wheel puled of makes a heavy duty spinning work base.

    20. A hand held drill press stand makes a great pivoting stand that allows you to rotate your work with the turntable 360 degrees with one hand.

    Thanks for looking.

  • #2
    Thanks for those tips. We'll try them out and incorporate them into the instructions.
    Mike Caswell
    Caswell Inc
    Need Support? Visit our online support section at


    • #3
      Type of Paasche Gun

      What would be considered a good Paasche gun? I'm looking at coating an item about the size of a 12oz soda can. Are we talking an automotive type spray gun or a smaller hobby spray gun? I'm assuming that for the base and top coat a larger air compressor would not be required as it is for the Silvachrome layer.


      • #4
        Paache gun

        The double headed gun sold on the silvachrome page. It is great because it is a perfect atomizer and is completely adjustable even though its single action. Also being able to control your work while spraying is a huge plus.

        I have added a new tip.

        21. If the surface you are working with does not wet, then clean it with windex. The amonia in the glass cleaner with help the surface to sheet the acid in the sensitizer. Use a clean cloth and windex the part down well, Then wash it with high flow DI water. Then sensitize. If it still doesnt wet, increase the concetration of sensitizer up to 4 times the amount. Do it gradually.


        • #5
          Thanks again for these excellent tips. We've added them all to our Silvachrome instructions, available on the Silvachrome page at
          Mike Caswell
          Caswell Inc

          Need Support? Visit our online support section at